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The Punchline

Balance sheets, Bush and Bentley . . .

Richard Core Oct 24, 2008

Jokes collected by The New York Times’ Freakonomics blog from its readers …

The problem with investment bank balance sheets is that on the left side nothing’s right and on the right side nothing’s left.


George Bush has said that he is saddened to hear about the demise of Lehman Brothers. His thoughts at this time go out to their mother, as losing one son is hard but losing two is a tragedy.


A Wall Street executive walks into a bank in Manhattan and asks for a short-term loan for $500. When asked for collateral, he says, “Here are the keys to my Bentley. I’m sure it will be more than sufficient as collateral. I’ll be traveling in Europe for a month, after which I’ll return and pay off the loan.”

After he leaves, the loan officer says to be bank manager “That guy made over $10 million last year. Why would he need a loan for $500?”

Sure enough, in a month, the executive returns and offers to repay the loan in full. The loan officer says: “At 6% interest for one month, you owe a total of $505.” As the executive is writing out the check, the loan officer continues: “If you don’t mind my asking, sir, why would someone in your position take out a loan for $500?”

As the Wall Street executive hands over the check, he shrugs and says: “Where else in Manhattan could I park my Bentley for $5 a month?”

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